Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 29, 2012 4:20pm-6:00pm EST

4:20 pm
your readers are, i would say, between 17 and what, 35. >> yes. >> and these are, perhaps, do you sense that there is a change eric we still reading the way you read of a way that any of us in the audience over the past? >> the one great stories, the sting to places. chance to lot. advertised. changes rapidly. but a work is very popular but also very damaging, complicated.
4:21 pm
young readers, as you said that will come to him and just did really excited about this aggressively complicated work. >> okay. i think about cognition become especially when you talk about the younger. one of the factors that is important to remember in the digital age which can be very oriented is that when you're learning to read books that are read aloud to less, there is a constant change in the interaction between the reader and the one read too. the one read to is giving a little scam or a little excited. the reader adapts. it's the old story telling. storytelling to an audience, and that is something that the device cannot do. we're learning how to read in
4:22 pm
need to learn how to understand what is happening, the nuance and the voice that will allow us to go and appreciate the books and taken the information. if you don't get that early on we will be able to have it later. >> well, these four panelists have made me keep the face. i -- [applause] wonderful. i wanted thank congressman martin and senator reid for suggesting this summit. i want to thank dr. billington for holding it, but i want to think you especially for coming and giving us a bit of your expertise. so good of all of you to come and listen. thank you very much. >> using lessons of the past to
4:23 pm
get the feature. about an hour and 20 minutes and is the final panel from the international some of the book. >> i believe that this panel, last of the summit constitutes something like the 36-39 speakers some might say they saved the best for last. what i would do -- [applause] i would like to introduce the speakers very briefly one of the time and let each one have her or his to if we have time we will have some questions. then i will try to offer a very brief conspectus of the summit by way of what i believe are three important questions we should come away with a summer
4:24 pm
marks referred to and then we shall adjourn to a reception in the handling of ceremony. so very briefly, not to give her her due at all, but director of the national library service for the blind and physically handicapped. she holds the highest position in the land for handicaps service. no wonder then that she is the current president of the national council of state agencies for the blind and she is the past chair for six years of the consortium of user libraries. she is truly one of the world leaders in her field, and we are very privileged to hear from our this afternoon. [applause] >> thank you for that generous introduction. it is a pleasure to be here this
4:25 pm
afternoon. i want to acknowledge my colleague who is in the back running the power point so that i don't have to mess with that. thank you. this afternoon all yesterday and today we have been talking about books. last night we saw some beautiful examples of rare books. we heard about thomas jefferson's collection. the book truly can be a beautiful thing. something that you wanted talks, something that you want to have the smell of and the feel of in your hand, something that has beautiful illustrations to capture your right and your imagination and then, of course, there are the words and there. can't personally once had an opportunity to get pulled in my hand of 500 year-old book. there would not let me touch anything. but i did. it was an amazing experience because the book was kind of ready. it had been around. it was not in the united states. at a point that out. but where i was, which was not
4:26 pm
here, they just said, oh, here. here is one. look at this. i did. it was all that well worn, but the thing that was remarkable to me was the fact that someone from 500 years ago had written that book, and it's here to talk to me today. if i could only read it. but it was amazing. that container, that already book contained the words in the voice of somebody that went so far. physical objects, we live our walls, a trade them, i share them, and then to our cousins and their sisters. fantastic. you have to read this. the study then. we treasure them. beautiful, handy, functional, loved containers. the containers nonetheless. the real treasure as we heard
4:27 pm
before is not the binding, not the. [indiscernible] , not even the ink on the pages. it's the word. it is the meeting of minds that the book can entail, the transfer of information the cultural imperative and the good old fashioned story contained in books. that is what makes them truly valuable. has value in itself, an object. but really it is the ability to read, study it, to evaluate it and then to add to the world's dialogue. that is what matters. the creative work contained in the book is the key to that sharing. as a container its content has worked for most people for a
4:28 pm
very long time. but for some of us a book like this one is one of the most frustrating, aggravating the objects in the world. because its tantalizing. there are voices inside this book. there are stories that i want to know. there are perspectives that i want to understand. but i can't access the container. i cannot access the voices within. i am not the first person who had this problem, and i won't be a last. i'm sure that you have picked up the book and the language that you did and understand and wondered, if i could only read chinese are effective only read something, sanskrit or never i cannot read, economic the treasures in this book. broil undoubtedly had this same experience.
4:29 pm
he wanted to know. he was blind 200 years ago. he could not read. still he wanted to experience the literature of his people. he wanted to share in the dialogue that was talked about. he wanted to be part of the world that he had things to say. necessity is the mother of invention, and it was necessity. not just a wish, not a passing fancy. it was an imperative, a necessity that led him to create a reading and writing system that he as a blind person could use. wanted to participate in the dialogue. he had things to say. he had a perspective on life that was unique to himself, and
4:30 pm
he wanted to know about other people's thoughts and ideas and experiences. he refused to accept what others thought was a simple fact that a blind person could not read. he heard about a night writing system developed by the military command he took that idea and he responded to create a reading and writing system that we know by his name today, which is braille. brail has a it one to one equivalency with french. and a copy to monday,. , parentheses, whenever. so then i read braille i am not reading a foreign language.
4:31 pm
it is there and there is no photos, no fancy writing, and a creative art. it's bulky. this kind of big. it is not really all that handy, but his book -- is a book. it contains the words of the author, vons, ideas, messages, viewpoints of the person who wrote it, and i can sit down with that book and have that 1-on-1 dialogue with the author, whether they are shakespeare, homer, -- my container is different, but the content is the same, and i have been reading books in braille since i was seven. i have had this same excitement and the same joy and the same message impossibility that my
4:32 pm
sister sat. but the numbers of books in braille a limited. expensive to mine these market, not very many people produce the the national library service produces about 500 per year, which, as we just heard, is not very much compared to 3 million. blind people want to read whatever is out there, not just the book does someone else picked, but in the book. enter a pair of visionaries. he wanted to reprint books. he wanted to read anything that everyone else had access to. he had -- he knew all lot about computers and had an idea that he thought would solve the problems. he combined what he knew about computers and all of that. he created the first e-book
4:33 pm
system. he used up to characterize it -- recognition to scan the book into the computer and then to synthesized voice read it back out. a big refrigerator sized thing with magnetic tape and a keyboard. for the first time a blind person could take a book the book like this, print pages and lay it down on that thing and suddenly have access to the book without an intermediate organization having to put it into braille form. i remember reading my first book on the reading machine in 1978. that was 20 years or more for the kindle came out. the book are red, all creatures great and small.
4:34 pm
it was such a big event. there was not a scholarly book and it was not something that had to read, but it was something that i could read. i was very excited. and ten years later i had my own computer and a scanner which worked so well i had detected kovrov the computer and put a fan at so it did not work out -- burnout. it was skin material into the computer, and i could read or acted braille it out. this is my first act. an expensive system, but something that i could use. and then about 15 years before it came out, i have my very own portable e-book reader, portable this time. it looks like this up here on the screen. a small computer with a refresh of all braille display. now, that is a system where a little pens make the dots. they pop up and down according to what the computer tells the to do and makes the lab text.
4:35 pm
you have to read one line at the time right now, but that is a refresh of all braille display. i can put my book or 100 books and that because now they are just small each text files. and i can carry it with me anywhere wanted to go. i could take it on the bus. most of it. i could read or ever went. today this optical character recognition software, this whole technology that was developed initially and refined so that a blind person could read a book is being used in all kinds of settings. we have heard a little bit about the happy trust and that sort of thing. all kinds of waste is being used today. i happen to be excited. but my refresh will braille display with little pens the
4:36 pm
pop-up in downtown little actuators, it's expensive technology. multiply that by 32. a little bit expensive, and too expensive for a lot of people. so we have developed synthetic speech. it was pretty primitive at first and not particularly easy to understand. it sounded like this. >> chapter one, almost midnight in virginia when the phone rang in the home and two men came out the front door hastily crossing the, very this warm up the driveway onto the deserted road. >> now, if you think that is a pleasant way to read a book -- [laughter] they have been proved it with time. it can now sound like this. >> chapter one, it was almost midnight in virginia late for
4:37 pm
the farm lands north of richmond when the breathing quickened in the stall. the phone rang in the gentry home and two men came out the front door hastily crossing the launch of the car. they swung up the driveway onto the deserted road and took off north. one size does not fit all and the blind community as a dozen a general public. a lot of people do not read braille, and the reason they don't is often because they are older when they lose their vision and they -- it's difficult to learn to read braille as the adults. so a lot of people did not learn braille, but they still wanted to access the treasures that are found in books. the national library service for the blind and physically
4:38 pm
handicapped back in 1930 invented a new kind of container , the stalking both. it was the first time that there were used to record human voice and read a book. paid actors to narrate entire books, and the result was access to the content of the book by listening to it being read. although it harkened back to the tradition of years past, it added the full carefully crafted contents of the written word. and here is an example. >> lows labour's lost. on a day spite of blossom passing playing in the once an air the month through the velvet leaves, all wind all unseen and passage find that the lover fixed to death wish and sells
4:39 pm
the heaven's breath. >> that was a little better. blind people used talking books for 40 years before the general public caught on. does not a bad way to read some kinds of books. now you know you can get audio books from all kinds of places. a lot of people of benefiting from audio books. they have their place. people have discovered that. the containers involved. the records got smaller, and they tell -- played longer. up to the cassette tapes that came into favor, and that is about when the public started using audio books because you could put them in your car and listen to them on the weight to boston are somewhere. most recently the national library service has developed what we call the digital talking book which is a very sophisticated digital book in a
4:40 pm
container, again, that has been specially designed for people who have limited dexterity and limited vision so that they can run a car easily. once the technology for digital books became feasible, blind people got together to look at better ways of accessing the content of the digital book, whether it's a digital text or a digital audio. because now we don't want to have to read the thing from start to finish without, you know, moving around in it. we wanted to be able to jump to pitch her @booktv. we wanted to be able to find out from chapter to chapter rest of the boring parts. its members were organizations serving the blind. based on their unique experiences of this population, the consortium developed the concept and standard for structuring a digital book so
4:41 pm
that it could be navigated without reading it straight through. and this, in turn, led the groundwork for each of the three witches a current open source format used by a lot of mainstream publishers, and we would like to see it used by all. very accessible. what does all this have to do with the international side? well, folks, the book, as an artifact, as a physical work of art is certainly a beautiful and treasured thing. it is important is a cultural icon, the paper box. comfortable and familiar container. the real value of the book lies in its contents, the word, as we have heard for the last two days, stories to my ideas, information that it contains.
4:42 pm
the content of the book is what matters. much less than whether it is a paperback, hard cover, or an audio book a multimedia presentation or even a computer text file. you can open it, access it, read it, understanding, dialogue with the author, incorporated ideas and carry on the dialogue the book has done its job. we will not be reading ten years are not aware earlier today. not uni me. some of the changes will be like a real, very efficient in in each market, but not widely adopted in the general public. others optical character recognition technology, audio books, synthetic speech and things we don't even dream of today will blossom unchanged the amazing amount of affirmation.
4:43 pm
the lessons of the past tell us that innovations have come and will continue to come from unexpected places. so i challenge you to look around the today. when you get back home, look at the people that you don't know, the people on the street, the people in the cafes, the people on the library and wonder what imperative drives that person and what can that person contributed to the world's conversation and how can we help each and every person on the face of the planet to continue that dialogue because as dr. billington told us, civilizations rise from the worker creative minorities. we don't know who those minorities necessarily are. thank you. [applause]
4:44 pm
>> mo, the only person who was not paying attention was jamie, the dog. thank you so much. much to discuss. i next speaker is chief of the library of congress preservation research and testing division. a world leading heritage preservation scientist. she has done groundbreaking work
4:45 pm
on some of our nation's most precious objects, among them the draft copy of the declaration of independence that we saw yesterday in the presentation and the u.s. flag that flew over fort mchenry. she will kill me for putting it this way, but prepare yourself for book history csi. [applause] >> it has been such an amazing privilege of the last two days to build the knowledge that has been brought together at the summit. it was discussed yesterday and seemed to be a continuing theme throughout that the resources of knowledge that leads to new christians, it can't be just information. it must be knowledge.
4:46 pm
in the preservation, in short of an interrupted exit either an original or reformulated form. very nicely ties in with the use of new technology and how we actually access that content. spectral imaging and other non invasive technologies we can access not visible information and change the information into content knowledge from our book. we can create accurate digital rendering of the intermission and make it more accessible in the digital object. the find it interesting because if we did not have the original material we could not use the new technology to pull up the information that is in them. the preservation of the original materials is a critical component of being able to move forward and access the information.
4:47 pm
the type of things that we can do with the new technology is optimized preservation. unable the materials, but unlike csi we can't quite do it in the same time friend. we can capture the information that really is a critical component of the books that we have an art collection. to do this we are entering a number of different techniques, spectrum -- spectral imaging allows us to find out where different parts of the materials are showing different characteristics. we can link the large components in the binding and everything through to the minute details within and pull out some of the information that we didn't know was there.
4:48 pm
a list of different types of technologies. you don't need to remember the acronyms after. so what do we do with something and expect to imaging. actually starred in the ultraviolet. this means that we had a stack of images in each of these individual. particularly in major processes. what we do this? well, essentially looking at taking something from remote sensing looking at the world to looking at our books, the archaeology of what we're doing, digging into our books, finding out what is there that we did not know. hopefully you'll also the wonderful presentation on the jefferson library, the formation
4:49 pm
of the library of congress. i have the honor of looking at both the declaration of independence, and you can see the very neat cross out in places. in the margin. when i was looking at this, actually saw one place which looked unusual. the cross out. this region here, fellow citizens. when i started looking at this from the proceeds, i started to see something coming up underneath. a very similar thing, so it's quite difficult to separate out. you can see what it's sort of looks like. so after lots of processing and a little bit more, much more then csi takes him i'm afraid,
4:50 pm
originally written subjects. this is quite and medical change . also done the subjects to citizens recently. and really kind of throwing into the sixth floor to someone must know about this. i started doing some research to find out. where did this come from? and found a researcher from princeton who have been going through difficult notes and noticed that they started copying from virginia constitution does written months earlier. i realized, this was wrong for our country. this was not right. i spines it completely to never be found again. so some of what we doing is bringing out of thought process of our founding fathers. going back into this knowledge that we have in our libraries, this precious knowledge and finding more information that the kind of knowledge based on what we have here.
4:51 pm
examples of two books that we worked on. for both of these it really is a process of digging into it, working very collaborative live with a group of people from the library to make territorial, conservation, preservation, other experts, and this is what makes it work because of the effort a process of interacting with other professional colleagues that helps us pullout disinformation and turn it into actual knowledge. gospel and 1487, this is a rare manuscript to. you can see when it first came to a library that it was not in particularly good shape. it did not look very useful. does not mean it was not. and we know, in fact, that it came from the silk road. you can even track it back to the actual monastery at it was written and. had we know that? because the scribe, in fact, notes that he wrote the script.
4:52 pm
the current ruler at the time. a lot more information and allows us to insure the proper amounts of this material and the author who made. the year before down through that. this followed, did does not always happen read throughout. so we are seeing changes and thought permanent was first started to what actually happened. to the elimination, our these elimination's, our they actually
4:53 pm
created? and so a wonderful you can see here from the color chart, the if you're going to a work with -- to make it noted, use white. if you're going to do that with green and red use the yellow. so differences in the way that we think about how it would change colors to out there were dahlia at the time. take that one step further and understanding this. its starts from painting a face and everything goes out for nine.
4:54 pm
that added. what's interesting is we see it was not the kind of change, dark tones generally, you would imagine it would be added, but this is just a further addition. we can feel that this is a type of color that you would expect to see on the original. on the ride is a we have in the library. so how come we understand what sort of degradation has occurred and stabilize and ensure we know how to use it as part of our collection. so we started looking in terms of the analysis of this. what sort of pigments are being used, particularly interesting. also very intrigued with the
4:55 pm
borders because we're seeing quite a lot of differences. speech technology and other analysis have started to pull this all together. spectral imaging and damage process and what we can actually do with this is not across the entire surface of this in a pseudo color to actually show very quickly the difference between colors that may have actually looked exactly the same we can also look at the changes and the board as well. and so my staff actually did a lot of spectroscopy which is found in the blue reason that the presence. a blue pigment that is actually used in the glassmaking and ceramics industry. so this is really quite exciting. this is an early example of technology transfer from one industry to another that had not been used before. and it's interesting. use more than one technique to
4:56 pm
really pull out what's happening. so while it could be detected, this seems to be something out there. looking at the spectroscopy, now, a very, very expensive. found their name in afghanistan. civil we doing here is using this note to its. [indiscernible] look further at characterizing this moving on from the research. there really was quite challenging. spectral imaging, x-ray diffraction, it shows the presence outside. so they were present.
4:57 pm
because of the degradation we alexian different levels in the carnival is ongoing, the new direction between those different levels. conservation staff that they don't want to do any more, add anything to because of the complexity of the layers. and such a beautiful slide here. the recreation of the original palin of the mark of the colors that he was using. you can now go back to some very real components. the sample being used. and you can see the range of mixtures. you would not realize the complexity of what is being done and digging down into the information. so if we go back from digging down and come back up a little bit further, the reid binding of
4:58 pm
this. you can see the lower level. this is a rebound in the original style. using traditional materials like lenin, and this is the final product that was created which was really quite, quite gorgeous. you can see here that the volume that came into the library, retain the content and have the container in a very special way. one more example of want to give you is the g agraphia. and this is really, again, wonderful collaboration, staff. myself. this is also on knowing. quite interesting. very interesting. this section has met, they go
4:59 pm
right through to the early 16th century. so you can see here that because it was found quite tightly making this a accessible. really needed to actually stabilize and find it. costa request use. but along with that there were a number of other questions. the inscriptions seen on the front, we can see the words, the spectral imaging. and it relates to the bill of sale which we found and also expect the library of congress quarterly. i think given some of the numbers, this is probably quite a bargain. another common and then restored and will come back a little bit later on. the part of it, but i'm told
5:00 pm
they cannot be pulled out and extracted. .. adhered >> further down on this view, we are actually seeing some degradation of the grain. i am not sure if it is clear for you or not. due to the indicated, which is a couple containers that they had mentioned before, we really want to know what causes degradation
5:01 pm
and how can we start to make this more available? so it shows this and it seems to be present in a copper containing pigment. looking at the financial analysis of the committee can see here that this area that we see, this will eventually, it is a material that was quite often used in paper making for the paper. we also see the brushstroke that is showing us ultraviolet.
5:02 pm
we are now working with conservation people to see how you can remove this to prevent any further damage and restore it to be back to good condition. part of what we need to do, is we need to understand more about the traditional materials. so we are re-creating with original recipes. original samples and the materials that might have been used. part of what we are doing is creating our own scientific research sample under this conviction that allows us to assess the analysis and the knowledge of convictions. looking at it now, there is actually a central guard. these cards were removed when
5:03 pm
things were being taken apart. if you look at this and you can see how that was placed over a piece of acid paper. we could confirm where this paper came from. so looking back to the original restoration, we can now look at the time. back of this finding and when it occurred. looking at the paper quality here, we found three different types of paper. one that wasn't particularly good condition, and another one that was not watermark. what is very interesting is an established connection between the different volumes in our library connection, which is really quite fascinating. in summary, the importance of
5:04 pm
the preservation of the original is really a critical component. if we didn't have this up, we couldn't do the analysis that we would be able to do. this digital spectrum would not be available to us. it is uniquely link between the original and the new digital form. we are creating new information with new content knowledge to the original material. we can get right down into the book that you can how important it is. the knowledge of the content that is created. it also allows us to make the sciences and humanities, which i don't think should be separated but often are, and let with other colleagues and researchers and create interesting collaborations. thank you so much.
5:05 pm
perhaps very appropriately, the great new zealand bibliographer donald francis mackenzie said if you know how to read it, every book is alive with the judgment of its maker. in the business of bibliography is learning how to read the human presences in every recorded task. and i think that we have certainly seen an example of how to recover those human judgments. those human presences through a capacious and db2 learned every
5:06 pm
article. he's he is the author of eight novels, two values in 10 volumes of essays in as many articles as some of our nations finest journals. a past deputy chairman of the national endowment for the humanities, he is the recipient of a national book critics circle award red the guggenheim and even a rock rockefeller award. when you think about his work in cytogenetics. i'm not entirely sure, but i'm sure that he can inform us about the nature of fiction, the book, and the future of the book. i present to you mr. thomas
5:07 pm
mallon. >> 25 years ago they ran through different cultural institutions and mine went through the 92nd in new york. i had one, and the other person who had won was an person. she was supposed to be writing a book on the classics, and i was supposed to be writing a book about plagiarism. and she was actually in her room writing poems and i was trying to become a novelist. so we weren't very good novelist for the money that they expended on us. [laughter] we were grateful for them. i am very pleased to have been invited here this afternoon. i confess that i owe some miscellaneous deaths as an author and a reader. most of them are cautionary, i guess. which is presumptuous to begin with. a few of them may be cranky. and i suppose all of them, and their weight, are of nostalgia, without trying to be trusted to
5:08 pm
the past. my father was holding loves overhears 14 years old in 1920. he had to go to work after the death of his father. it was 50 years after that in 1978 that had my first article accepted for publication. i was so excited that i sent him a copy. this man left school at 14, and again, this is from that letter. i wish i could put into words how much i enjoyed seeing the biography, and i realize how anxious you must be to see the finished product. it will a lot of memories for me of when i was the exalted office boy for cosmopolitan books. my memories about the excitement that i always felt when he finished book arrived from the printer.
5:09 pm
every one of them was a new adventure. the jacket and the hardcover and the fun of reading them at home but of course now i realize that i was stealing them. [laughter] eventually i had about a hundred of them, which i sold for 12 bucks down on 13th street. and even if i was the lowest one on the totem pole and sometimes had nothing to do but fill the ice pitchers, for the publisher, i doubt if any of them got as much of a charge out of the books as i did. except, of course, the authors. somehow, i don't think it ever became old hat to them. the company went bust during the depression. sarah ann reinhardt took over some of it. kinsey started his own publishing company and lasted quite a few years and the editor, who had a contract paid my salary out of his own pocket for quite a few weeks and his secretaries as well. while he still had use of the office. they were all nice people and one day even got a glimpse of
5:10 pm
sinclair lewis. you will have memories of the printed word all the days of your life. when i reread this, it is how in many ways the publishing world that i entered as a writer in the late 1970s bore more resemblance to the publishing world of the 20s that he is describing. already then, a half-century gone and the one we have now, 35 years later. i remember the editor telling me i had to be ambitious and want to success. i had to imagine the book i was writing. when it actually happened, i learned from excited friend who had seen it and called me up. we race down there so she could photograph me in front of the store. it is now a benetton and a book
5:11 pm
would as likely as not be trying to catch someone's eye through the glass of their ipad rather than through a display window. i am romanticizing the past, but i have been struck by it today's youngest writers. my undergraduate students for instance at george washington university. they are tremendously tech savvy. i have never seen one of them with a newspaper printed in his hand. and they have untrained and almost never use penmanship would've given him a heart attack. when the students who are very secure in their electronic and cyberworld dream of literary success, these creative writers i teach, they still tend to do it by summoning the very old imagine of trappings of print
5:12 pm
and paper and dust jackets. i find it when i talk to them is that they still want to write a book that someone will eventually put into their hands. even when they are queasy about exclusively electronic publications, especially online publications, which which can make a well-known writer feel like a blogger. anyone can do this feeling. but the web, especially where fiction is concerned is so not evolved from the so-called wild west days of the 1990s. precincts other, in which readers can find fiction that has been competitively selected and edited are there, but they remain comparatively rare. rare than what you would expect them to be nearly two decades into this. i don't know whether the students will get that chance to have that first book and set up you put into their hands. i'm not sure how much longer i will keep having those moments
5:13 pm
earlier this year by agent the fearsome andrew wylie so the proposal of a new novel of mine at random house. someone slammed by then i realized that i hadn't yet seen a contract so i got in touch with andrew's office and asked if anything was wrong know, said his assistant. just some boiler issues. i asked what they might be and was told that they involved a just adopted standard contract that would no longer guarantee a print edition. the publisher had every expectation that there would be one but since nobody knows what the industry would look like even three years from now when the book is to be delivered, who could blame them for trying to make such a guarantee. nonetheless, andrew's office was arguing that since before this came as standard, the print guarantee should be
5:14 pm
grandfathered in. he got back in touch to tell me good news that the publisher had agreed to their requests. and i couldn't help thinking about the kinds of negotiations that agents and perhaps andrew wylie in particular used to have with publishers. now it has come to this. good news and they have agreed to print the book. [applause] [laughter] and andrew does still work magic in a recent novel of mine about the watergate scandal did pretty well. he was able to get random house to agree to bring back two of my older novels and i know that the coming availability in kindle is what i should be happy is developed. it least and the long-term economic sense. but i would be lying if i told you that the new electronic edition will give me as much pleasure as the new prospect of
5:15 pm
copies to be inscribed and those at my desk, the one with one copy of everything that i have published them, being extended a couple more inches. but let me let me give the up-to-date view. by this point, it may surprise you to know that i own and use a candle. there are things i like about it. because i can't figure out how to annotate, i use it only for pure pleasure reasons. mostly novels, often old ones. last year i found myself contentedly reading pandemic and faulkner. sometimes while sitting in a rocking chair. the electronic lion making peace with the low-tech way out. i expect as the years go by i will rely more and more on this electronic box. i have floaters in my eyes,
5:16 pm
those maddening specs that sometimes dance around when the read. and i find the light that comes up at me from the kindle is actually friendlier. makes you less aware of the floaters then paper pages. but there are downsides. there is the awful thing that kindle smears over everything and that will kill your lack of commitment, it seems to foster. you are not holding a book. you are holding a whole library of books. and you are not enclosed by the covers of the text you are reading. as with the wikipedia entry, you are free to leap from one texan lead to another, as if you have chosen to jump fences and get distracted by other boxes and so you don't know where you really are. i am happy enough for an electronic text to be part of my world. but i do wish they wouldn't come into it with such aggressive self exertion.
5:17 pm
electronic books seem to be terribly certain about the inevitability of their dominance. i have even encountered librarians who seemed almost giddy about the postprint air that seems to be dying. when i was with the national humanities for a while, i attended the arl in philadelphia, and i was astonished with how some of the other speakers talked with glee about the number of duplicate copies of printed books that they had been able to confine to some off-site limbo or complete oblivion now, i know they are under pressure to free up space in their libraries in order to accommodate all sorts of new electronic equipment and activity but when they talked about those duplicate print copies, you would've thought that they were engaged in asbestos removal i turned 61
5:18 pm
years old last month, and i have a lot of writer friends just about my age, and when i talk about these things with them, i find it kind of consensus that we don't much mind being in her 60s. we have enjoyed our careers and feel that enough of the old publishing model that we grew up with will survive for us to hold on a little wilder. and we probably wouldn't mind being in our 20s starting over, because that generation of writers, students of mine, will be in on the ground floor of whatever new model is being built now. it will quickly announce and feel unnatural to them. what we would've so much want to be is in her 40s and having fully to adapt to the system that we never anticipated when starting out. the changes over the last 15 years have the sense that we are just at the beginning of them and not all of the signs seem very friendly to me. simon & schuster, which not long ago was getting into video but
5:19 pm
combinations, "vooks." it sounds at a a much more developed version of it. well, along with that, just edit a simon & schuster announced that it was aligning itself with the self-publishing venture. i would suggest that no publishing house, no matter how dire the times and no matter how much amazon would like to see all editors and all agents go way, should be part of this. because it brings us one step closer to a world without editors. what would be the world with many more electronic books but very few of them that are worth reading. one can argue that there is nothing inherent in electronic publication that discourages editing, and i would agree with that, but i do believe we have history to demonstrate that it dies. the internet may have already
5:20 pm
proved itself a powerful tool against political tyranny. but the power has not been proved by giving everyone his own printing press. we shouldn't overestimate what electronics and the web have brought us. and they have brought plenty to me as they have everyone else. but even so, i don't think we should ignore what they have taken away. nothing i think i suffered more in the past 15 years than reviewing and criticism. mostly from the notion that everybody can be a critic now, and that customer comments -- i love this book, cindy. [laughter] can somehow take the place of those regular litter voices that one used to find in those now vanishing newspapers. we now judge things by how many bikes and stars they get. and we let all these keystrokes turned literary life into a kind of pinball game.
5:21 pm
are you item for a republic of letters, not a democracy. and that really finally. [applause] i am in favor of the survivor of editors, as well as the survival of the printed book. not just at some delicacy consumed by the trade. that is the primary conveyance for literature. which to me has always been more or less indistinguishable from life. i will close with one last story the very first book that i wrote, and academic monograph that grew out of my dissertation had it for a subject in london. in english poet of the first world war. there is an enormous array of online. and hadn't existed 35 years ago, i would've had a much better time of it. as it was, the summer of 1977 in
5:22 pm
austin, texas went through london's papers at humanities research center. a country boy, london had in his memoirs disguised himself as a harmless shepherd and a soldier's coat. and i thought i knew what you meant by that. but i don't think that i really did until one morning half a century after his soldiering, i opened the diary he kept fighting in the battle and out of it onto the table felt a drive wildflower that he picked up from the battlefield. it was out of that moment from that one-of-a-kind book he became real to me. thank you very much. [applause]
5:23 pm
>> re so pleased that he stayed. [applause] we have some time were a few questions, and i would like to begin by speaking to care and a little bit and talk about this 500-year-old oak in your hand. how scientists more and more are talking about the importance of knowledge. from the greek word to grasp. holding something in your hands and keeping the book with all your senses is extremely important. and i think that more and more we have heard today about the one to six categories. how important it is for children to hold the physical book and to see the pictures and to have
5:24 pm
that integrated experience between word and image. but it was also the case that in some environments that i wonder if in the disabled community, which was such an important stewardship, are their attempts to find ways to create technology and multi-sensory experiences for readers as they consume cultural artifacts certainly real book is a multi-sensory experience within itself. that is an old technology comparable to the print book. beyond that, i believe that there is not very much work being done in that area and i am very anxious that we should be able to provide braille to people in the disabled community to the music. the reason for that goes back, i
5:25 pm
think, to where it makes sense. obviously, it makes a lot of sense. but it is also a reading experience that is very different from audio reading and experiences that way. a lot of people have come to the conclusion that it is just as good for a blind person to listen to a book to read it in braille, and i totally disagree with that. it's a very difficult way of learning however, and i don't think it gives the generation of functionally illiterate kids by telling them just listen to what you heard. that would be the medium that they would have been urged to use and then so i'm not sure i'm answering the question, but i believe that literacy requires reading and whether that is reading what i have, or visually
5:26 pm
seeing and holding your book or your kindle. my daughter puts her kindle in her backpack. but to answer your question, i don't think it in the way you are envisioning it, that there is anything. >> you're saying that because example of what bibliographers and book historians a matter, it forms the effects. and that consuming a book world is very different than reading it yourself and the instrumentality of braille. and that makes perfect sense to me. there are different forms of cognition and different learning styles at work.
5:27 pm
the biographers talk about this all the time. so in order to understand the historical objects in surplus of meaning, and went into the meeting, mum was always understand that meanings are materially made. no materiality, no meaning. so learning how to read the material text and history and as part of history, is a serious business of bibliographical literacy, which is part of the serious business, dare i say, of this content. so that maybe takes a to mr. thomas stearns eliot.
5:28 pm
he the question, when can we convert this into knowledge? one could say that the beauty of a greek cultural institution, such as the library of congress and many other institutions that are represented, is to take data and turn it into information and information and turn it into knowledge and ultimately to take knowledge and to try to help it coalescent wisdom. turning information into knowledge, i'm wondering if you could talk about that and maybe ask but do you feel is a scientist that they use this information in the business of converting information into knowledge is a complex and difficult task.
5:29 pm
>> we do agree the volume of information and how it comes in, making some meaning out of it. we want to make it in its original form available. because of that, as things deteriorate over time, information sometimes becomes lost. and if we can pull that out in ways that make it more accessible, and as you hear it, being very patient about the physical books itself, that we keep applying these technologies, we can use technologies to make it more available to people. the other thing that is a critical component is a collaboration and i can't be a subject in certain areas. all of these different divisions. i have to work closely with
5:30 pm
these incredible people to actually see what is interesting whether it is or not. and so sometimes i will process something and i think it looks great. and then others think no. dialogue is a critical part of getting engaged with the whole community. what part of a conversation can each person contributed and that is the way we change that information the problem is you need to know how it goes and sometimes we lose parts of information. again, i go back to just over
5:31 pm
last two days, the knowledge and the skills and what we have achieved and that's how we move towards so much knowledge here. but together we can make the transitional change. >> the importance of collaboration is clearly taking the floor. congratulations, they are going to print the book. it raises some troubling questions and difficult observations. it was once so powerful he said that i will make you a monument more lasting than bronze. right but it was said that if
5:32 pm
someone could digitally published her first book with a huge subsidy, they put all sorts of bells and whistles on it and couldn't put it out on the web for that person can publish 300 copies them a small academic press, and she came to him and said, what should i do is offer her question to make the determination would be the one people to read your work 50 or 70 years from now because if you do, there is no way you should go for the digital publication. we don't know that it is sustainable in its current iteration.
5:33 pm
one of the pressing problems of our time, something that this institution is at the forefront of. so it seems to me that the whole thought of what you're saying makes me wonder argue, as an author and teacher of creating and creative writer who has helped many in the world of publication. are you worried that literary history will be shortened by the fact that digital publications seem to have a disposability. many of in the 1990s no longer exist. are you worried about literary history and what the digital
5:34 pm
minds think of that? >> well, it's a kind of interesting question. it's kind of a doomsday scenario. yes, what happens when the electricity goes out. well even before the format you know, what do we do with all of this? and i would like to say that i think in the long range, the versatility of these things i think for all of the reservations i have expressed, my instinct tells me the digitization is more likely to ensure the long-term technology. technology being what it is, it becomes more adaptable and my
5:35 pm
grateful. i do think that that is the real thing. the distribution of things in the present moment. it doesn't hurt to have that original copy demonstrated like that. i think it is more about the reading experience. the immediate reading experience that would focus on. publishers are up against it and they have to do what they're going to do. i do not for one second think that oh, my goodness, i just
5:36 pm
thought well, this is how it goes. i hope it doesn't actually come to that. clearly the digital domain is here to stay, and it's not the enemy. clearly we live in an interesting universe. the question will always be in my mind, one is this digital both necessary and wholly sufficient as a delivery system. and when is it a digital great for access, for prompting the question access to what. in terms of information science and electronics. we might say the digital was locked for these formats because of information that is lost in the trans- mediation or re-mediation from print to digital. it is always an environment of
5:37 pm
loch endgame. i think perhaps teaching our students and our public how to be more self-aware about the environment as an environment in it would make them more knowing readers. you know, it is research that you must always calibrate the tools that you use for your interrogation. you must always be asking yourself questions about reliability. and i think that we need to be asking those questions in the publishing world to about what is lost and in what is seen. and how do we tell them both when we are in conversation with publishers and artists about the digital mediation of our world and work. >> very good. >> i have been given the
5:38 pm
difficult task of trying to summarize. i have been foolish enough to say yes, it is true that i was promised a large following bottle of mcallen scotch if i could do it. [laughter] the culture of the book, and i think about perhaps maybe more appropriately the cultures of the book from all the wonderful things we have heard here today. the one i think about the word culture, i can't help but remember that the word culture comes from the latin to tend the garden. cultivate the soil that might bring forth something nourishing and beautiful. and i see that we have been at a summit. the height of things. the important people, so that
5:39 pm
makes me think also that if we put these two together, we ask ourselves perhaps at the end of this conference, how can we cultivate the greatest good for the furtherance of the book in years ahead. and i have come away from the remarks of the last two days impressive as they have been with three basic questions that i would like to leave you with. i am sure there are many others, and i'm sure you come away with a variety of your own. but these are three that i think seemed to summarize what we have done about these last couple of days. the first one is this. how can we best cultivate literacy basic reading visual literacy digital literacy, teaching our students how to
5:40 pm
discriminate between and among websites with their content. how can we inculcate in humanistic scholars authentic and bibliographical literacy and understanding of how it affects meetings, the ability to recognize the human presence in every recorded texts. i must put that in because i am a director of the rare book school and this is the business of what the school is about. but how do we cultivate literacy among a diversity of public. and how do we understand that all those literacies are important to cultivate and nurture for the multiple features and multiple cultures of the book as it goes on. the second question is how can we best 10 to our libraries.
5:41 pm
how can we make them for the creation of coalescence of community? and i think that the question about the libraries is the center of community, where people come together around the activity of books and reading and narrative he and storytelling and being together around the consumption of culture, that goes all the way back to the formation of the european universities that goes more recently to the noble history in the 20th century of american and canadian libraries being centers for the service of immigrant population. third, how might we most usefully enlarged upon the notion of jury should?
5:42 pm
a word that means to care for and how can we curate the books? how can we nurture the culture of the book. and how can we understand the activities of preservation and that mediation and of intellectual property regimes and, of course, of literacies, the kind of durations that all of these questions come together for it. for me, at least, to say how we create the conditions of possibility to further the culture of the book? how do we create the conditions of possibility in order to make sure that the values enshrined in the book go well into the 21st century.
5:43 pm
perhaps the overriding question that this discussion has inculcated and how do we most usefully dedicate our energies and our intelligence is. in order to sustain and nurture the ever evolving culture is of the book. thank you very at. [applause] >> this program is part of the 2012 international summit of the book. for more information, visit -- don't summit. >> who is rob cox? >> he is my deceased uncle who made the decision six months before pearl harbor brought america into world war ii, he made the decision that he wanted to fight the war against them
5:44 pm
and went to england and enlisted as an officer candidate with the british army. he took with him porphyrins, another man who was a student at harvard who had recently graduated and they were doing what they could to help the cause. saving their liberties against the forces of market fascism. >> he was studying at harvard at the time. what was his life trajectory at that point? >> he liked his four brothers and they had grown up in new jersey together and vermont where his family had had property for quite a long time. several generations. he went to prep school at st. paul's school, where he was distinguished as a student and a student leader. like all his brothers, they went to harvard.
5:45 pm
he was a good writer, known as a good writer. and when he went to war, he kept journals and wrote one of the letters, which i have hunted out and explored the story of what happened when he went to war. and i knew growing up that he had been killed. he was still very well remembered, he was killed in tunisia. that's pretty much all i knew about him except for what he looked like. about six years ago i decided that i was going to see what i could do to learn more about him. and that was the beginning of this journey of discovery. it led to the publication of my book. >> "into dust and fire: five young americans who went first to fight the nazis." >> that's right, "into dust and fire." >> his life was a good life at that point. there was some money at that point? >> yes, they were comfortable. >> what inspired rob cox to go
5:46 pm
off to europe? >> this is one of the questions that fascinated me when i started researching. he was an idealistic man, and i know that. he went to school there was a christian school. and he was somewhat religious and felt that life was meant to be more about than just yourself. be helpful to others, that kind of thing. there were a few less noble note motivations. he had graduated from college, he had no other obvious plans. and we have what we would now call a low draft number. there was a good chance that he would be drafted into the american army, which had we resume the draft at the end of 1940, that have no clear plans to actually go to war, he spent the next year training. so he was casting around for
5:47 pm
something. and i think that there's still a lot of meaningful goals for him. so how did he get from harvard to england. who did he contact? to that's a good question. well, he learned about his opportunity from his harvard club, which was sort of the equivalent of a fraternity at harvard. someone came to talk to the guys at the club who had made contact in england with the american ambassador. the british foreign secretary and have worked out a way for this regiment called the kings corps, which had actually warmed up originally in america. before the american revolution. so it had starts in french and indian war. after the revolution, there were no more americans in the
5:48 pm
regiment. in 1940 and 41, it seemed like a good way to bring a few americans to the battlefield. and through various informal channels, i guess i should say, arrangements have been made for a few americans to join the rifle corps and become officers. so when my uncle heard about this, he thought it sounded pretty good. >> was he the leader of the five -- the band of five? >> or did they simply decide to attend as well? >> he was sort of the center of the group in that he made the decision to go. there was one of their harvard boy that was only 19 at the time. a boy that had grown up in england and come back to america. he was american, but he had been raised in england, come back to america to go to harvard, and he was, of course, very desperate to get back to england to help his family via the novelties. at that point in 1941, england had just barely avoided being
5:49 pm
invaded themselves by the germans. the battle of britain was pretty much over, but they were still regularly.dck they were in a terrible position. they needed all the help they can get. and i think that that appealed to my uncle's sense of chivalry. he really liked to help the underdog. so getting back to your previous question. as far as being a leader of the group, he knew about the opportunity. he went one day to his own prep school and he met with an ex-roommate who was there. he went to dartmouth. he tried to talk his friend in common with him. his friend decided not to go. he took the opportunity back with him when he went back to school. and he told his friends they are after the interventionist movement about this opportunity. and they responded. they pretty much jumped at the
5:50 pm
chance. so my uncle was sort of the linchpin of the group. he was the reason that he knew about the opportunity. but i wouldn't say he exactly believe it. >> what did you learn about his experience for they did any fighting? >> was it your mother's home or research that he found out in england, how did you find out what happened? >> went home to his mother almost every week. two or three pages of letters, a lot of material to read. i went to the regimental museum, the rifle corps, they got documents and recorded everything. they have regimental, was there that you can read. and i saw where he had lived. and i also managed to track down relatives for the other four soldiers who also had stacks of
5:51 pm
letters and diaries. they kept a really good records, four out of five consider themselves writers. some people who remember them, heard from soldiers and their were people who remember training with them. so i was able to get a lot of information. >> of the five of them, how many survived world war ii? >> three of them survived. my uncle and another fellow named jack were killed very close to the end of the north african campaign in april of 1943. >> what happened? >> how did they die? >> yes be well, he was in an isolated position. i went to tunisia to see what the wind was light. where they were fighting.
5:52 pm
wonderfully interested and exciting. it was a rocky and hilly kind of terrain. they kind of separated from the body of the battalion. volunteering to go out with another man and in the course of that, the guy behind a haystack took them how and unfortunately he was so far from medical help that he bled to death before he can could get the kind of help that he needed. >> by 1943 they were fully incorporated into the british army? >> yes.
5:53 pm
>> and not part of the american expeditionary forces? >> no, that was an issue for them all the way through. before they went, they made a big point of finding out if they would be able to transfer the american army. if america actually joined it. one of them, jack brewster, the other fellow that was killed in tunisia, made the decision to transfer to the american army. he requested a transfer, and this was the kind of thing that could not be made up in a novel. no one would believe it. two hours after he was killed, -- two hours the papers came through for him to transfer the american army. >> out of the three that came
5:54 pm
back, what kind of person they pursue? >> well, he was a man who was an editor and had been a newspaper man from the time he was in high school. the greenwich, connecticut newspaper. and he came back and went to work for the voice of america. but he very quickly was diverted to a new veterans organization. it is kind of an interesting story as well. it was integrated. >> the american legion? >> yes, that's right. the american legion. anyway, that kept him occupy for couple of years.
5:55 pm
and then he had publishing and at the end of his life was a freelance writer. he was a writer. the other two became an architect. he was a very good artist. he was an ornithologist and would draw pictures of birds. he became part of international affairs. so he was interested in politics all the way around. looking for the american government. those three were seriously injured in their time and north africa. which is, in a way, why they survived. >> rachel cox, this is her book, "into dust and fire: five young americans who went first to fight the nazis." she didn't want to give away too much of the ending, but just a
5:56 pm
little bit. rachel cox has another uncle who became rather notorious. >> archibald cox. everyone called him uncle bill. nobody knows why, but that was his nickname. maybe he just didn't like being called archibald. >> honestly he is well-connected. there is the watergate era, what you remember about that era? >> well, i think that the general feeling was it was characteristic of him. to resign when he was put in a position. i guess he was fired, actually. anyway, he wouldn't do what the president told him to do. he left. so it is kind of what uncle robbie did. family did what they believed was right. based on their convictions. it all kind of made sense to me at the time.
5:57 pm
i didn't have any sense of, you know, betrayal or anything like that. he went on about his business. and i was proud of him. >> rachel cox is the former editor of preservation magazine. former editor of time life books. she writes regularly for "the washington post." a website is rachel >> it is actually rachel s. cox. >> excuse me, rachel s. this is booktv on c-span2. >> like us and interact with booktv guests and viewers. watch videos and get up-to-date information on events. >> we don't always find many newspapers in any era investigating reporting.
5:58 pm
it's not just economics. it is the discomfort that investigative reporting often causes in the newsroom. it is troublesome. that more than the economics. if you ruffle the feathers of someone powerful, that if those people running in to complain to the publisher. we were very fortunate all through the 70s and all of our careers to work for people who are very strong and upright in those areas. to let the chips fall where they may. >> the investigative team of donald bartlett and james steele will take your calls and e-mails and tweets next month on the show trento. the latest, the betrayal of the american dream. sunday, january 6, at noon eastern on c-span2. with just days left in this
5:59 pm
month and this year, many publications are putting together their year and list of notable books. booktv focuses on several of these lists focusing on nonfiction. these titles are included in the christian science monitor's 15 best books of 2012, nonfiction. in reagan and thatcher, the difficult relationship, richard aldous argues the relationship between ronald reagan and margaret thatcher was more tumultuous than what they let the public believe. our next author who calls her experience of growing up in mexico and bringing the family across from border. ..


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on